I did eat this, now what?
February 21, 2016 4:41 AM   Subscribe

I just picked what I thought was a burnt crumb off a tray of cookies and ate it. Except it turned out to be not a crumb, but a somewhat-dessicated black bean that had escaped from my dinner plate yesterday. (Not gonna win any prizes for housekeeping, I know.) I have to give a really important presentation on Monday. Is there anything I can do to reduce my chances of having given myself horrifying food poisoning?

(I already made myself throw up once. Sorry, TMI I know, but uuuugh fuck fuck fuck fuck help)
posted by en forme de poire to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Food poisoning generally comes from various bacteria that grow on particular types of foods in particular circumstances. It's gross that you ate an old bean, but I don't think you'll wind up with food poisoning from a single bean that will incapacitate you, or any real averse affects at all, except being grossed out.

If you do get food poisoning, it's going to happen very soon, so you'll know straight away.
posted by xingcat at 4:46 AM on February 21, 2016 [8 favorites]


A black bean? You're fine. Throwing up was radically unnecessary.
posted by jon1270 at 4:48 AM on February 21, 2016 [167 favorites]


This falls comfortably into the gross but not dangerous category. Note entrant gross really.
posted by mskyle at 4:52 AM on February 21, 2016


I can't claim expertise in this particular situation, but I'm gonna make a guess that the black bean being desiccated is a point in your favor. Bacteria likes moisture.

So yeah, avoid random old dried-up beans because they're gross, but I really don't think eating just one has any chance whatsoever of making you sick. It will be okay. Have a cup of tea and try to relax a bit. Good luck on your presentation. :)
posted by the turtle's teeth at 4:52 AM on February 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


Response by poster: I'm less grossed out than mad at myself. The offending legume actually tasted fine.

But the reality check is helpful, guys, thanks. And if there's anything I can do from a practical perspective other than chill and hope for the best, hit me.
posted by en forme de poire at 5:00 AM on February 21, 2016


You'll be fine. Throwing up was unnecessary.
posted by amro at 5:05 AM on February 21, 2016 [7 favorites]


I think you are overthinking this plate of bean. Relax.
posted by PlantGoddess at 5:18 AM on February 21, 2016 [56 favorites]


Practical advice: don't induce vomiting unless a doctor or poison control person tells you to do so.
posted by pintapicasso at 5:25 AM on February 21, 2016 [29 favorites]


Inducing vomiting is almost always unnecessary and carries its own dangers. Don't do that unless directed by a medical professional.

The best thing you can do is so worrying about it. You are extremely unlikely to get sick from this. Take a relaxing bath or have a nice cup of tea or something.
posted by zennie at 5:38 AM on February 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


My two-year old does stuff like this all the time, yet she lives. I'm quite serious about food safety, but the shit I've seen has convinced me that incidents like yours are not worth a millisecond of worry.
posted by Coatlicue at 5:56 AM on February 21, 2016 [13 favorites]


IME, things that dry up rather than mold or rot are not likely to cause food poisoning, especially in tiny quantities. IANAD, this is just based on my experience of occasional mistaken ingestion of things.

Also, there are degrees of food poisoning. I notice that everyone on Ask Mefi tends to go straight to the worst kind (which I once got - from pizza from the best pizza shop in town) where you feel physically horrible, throw up, have stomach troubles, etc. But there's also much milder "I ate a bit of tomato that tasted off, my stomach felt crampy and weird for a few hours" (also an actual experience of mine). That's not to say that you should go around eating the fish chowder that got left in the sun for ten hours, but it's not always unbearably horrible to get sick from something.
posted by Frowner at 6:01 AM on February 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Best answer: You will be fine.

If food hygiene is something that worries you this much, it might be a symptom of some mild OCD. Worth considering, and being aware of. The vomiting was extremely unnecessary, and may indicate other harmful behaviours you are inducing on yourself. I would recommend having a strong think about this, and perhaps seeking advice from a medical practitioner.
posted by 0bvious at 6:11 AM on February 21, 2016 [31 favorites]


Your body is an amazingly resilient machine. I ate half a sandwich recently before realizing the bread was moldy. Not my proudest moment, but I survived with no side-effects. I would only be concerned if you were severely immune-compromised.
posted by deathpanels at 6:50 AM on February 21, 2016


Best answer: I am torn between feeling slightly envious that a potentially moldy bean is your biggest concern today and somewhat saddened that something as literally small as a bean has caused you this much distress. Maybe you're worried about the presentation and your anxiety is manifesting itself this way? I get that, public speaking makes me pretty anxious! Maybe focusing on preparing for your presentation will help take your mind off the bean.
posted by areaperson at 7:05 AM on February 21, 2016 [16 favorites]


For next time, even if the bean had been rotten, just one bean probably wouldn't have made you sick. I'm sorry I don't have the info right now, I need to look for it but I once read that there's a sort of threshold for the amount of bacteria that has to be in your body for it to make you sick. In small amounts (of course of some types, not all types) of bacteria, your stomach acid/gut bacteria/immune system might be enough to get rid of it.

Please someone correct me if I'm wrong.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 7:23 AM on February 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure you could eat a piece of literal human shit that small and it wouldn't cause you too much trouble. Frankly you probably did more damage to your body by throwing up than any possible effect this single dried-out bean could possibly have had on you.

The first thing you should do is relax, but the second thing you should do is educate yourself about food safety, because you went to DEFCON 1 for essentially no reason whatsoever and that's no way to go through life.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:02 AM on February 21, 2016 [26 favorites]


If it makes you feel better, pick up some good probiotics and take them as directed. Not because that will prevent food poisoning per se, but it will keep your friendly bacteria in good shape and is action you can take now.

Sorry this was so stressful.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:20 AM on February 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, but I laughed. The amount of old (mysteriously old, incredibly old) desiccated snacks my toddler picks up from between couch cushions and feeds me/herself would have sent us both to the hospital 12 times over by now if it were a problem.

One black bean? From yesterday? You're right as rain: please, for your sake, relax. Any weird tummy reaction you'd have now would be brought on by the forced vomiting and the anxiety, not the bean.
posted by lydhre at 11:07 AM on February 21, 2016 [10 favorites]


You'll be fine. Forced vomiting is well beyond what you needed to do.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:12 PM on February 21, 2016


My 2 year old regularly eats day-old soy milk, beans, fruit, noodles and God knows what else. (It just happens when you have a kid! They store little portions in strange places, they spill, etc.). He also eats food dropped on any surface no matter how grungy. And dirt. He does not wash his hands or his grubby dirty thrice-dropped apples either. He has never once suffered any consequence from this, and neither have I.
posted by Cygnet at 12:45 PM on February 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just cause everyone else is doing it: When you've seen your baby sucking on the cheese-like dregs of a day (days?) old milk bottle they found rolled under the bed in the middle of summer with temps getting close to 100 - with no concern, you tend to relax about this kind of stuff.

Or some kind of horribly devolved jelly baby/animal/amoeba they pulled out of the folds in the car seat, festooned with a garland ancient crumbs and an improvised toupe made of nappy cream and hair from parts unknown.

Or a french fry they dropped (wait for it) on the floor of the food court at the mall - and not even the middle of the food court where a mop might travel once every vernal equinox, but right down beside the suspiciously dull vinyl seating, where you can see with your naked adult-height eyes that the floor is a shade darker.

Hope you're feeling better.
posted by smoke at 3:22 AM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: Update: The presentation was fine and I'm fine, obviously. I plead temporary insanity. Thanks again, everyone.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:43 AM on February 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


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